Colin McRae: Dirt 2 (Review)

What you have here is the best rally game this generation of consoles has seen, it might even be an all time racing great worthy of the late, great Scot. It even (just) survives an ill-advised X-games style make over outside the races.

As a rookie driver you’re given a free Subaru Impreza (very nice) and unleashed on a world map stuffed with over 100 events in Japan, China, Malaysia, Croatia, Morocco, London, Utah, LA and Baja.  Continue reading Colin McRae: Dirt 2 (Review)

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Wet (Preview)

Ever wondered what would happen if John Woo and Tarentino made a movie together?

This third person acrobatic shooter is a plethora of 70s style exploitation and Grindhouse cinema cheese forced through the Max Payne bullet-time blender. You play as Rubi (voiced by Eliza Dushku), a sassy hired gun seemingly raised by Sarah Conner on John Woo movies and bourbon.

What we have here is a third person shooter with a nice slice of swordplay. It’s more Uncharted than Devil May Cry though. The old exploitation cinema influences are obvious but perhaps more to an older generation of gamer. Gamers of recent years will instantly make comparisons to games like Total Overdose or 2007’s Stranglehold. The latter being the shadow it will have to emerge from. Continue reading Wet (Preview)

Nintendo Give Away Wii Internet Browser

Nintendo have generously (finally) decided to give away the internet browser feature on the Wii. And as PS3 users will attest, browsing the web from your sofa is awesome.

There’s even better news for those of you about to explode in fury for paying 500 points for it in the past. Nintendo has said you’ll be able to help yourself to a 500 point NES game from its Virtual Console range around the end of October. There has also been a Flash update meaning better video viewing for some sites such as YouTube. You might want to download it to an SD card rather than the Wii’s memory though as it takes up over 200 blocks. Continue reading Nintendo Give Away Wii Internet Browser

Batman: Arkham Asylum (Review)

What is it that makes the world of Batman so cool? Costume? Detective skills? Unmatchable martial arts? His gadgets? The ability to strike terror into the hearts of criminals? The setting? The sheer madness of his foes?

It’s all of this and developers Rocksteady Games know it, and have shown the best understanding of the Dark Knight yet.

Story
The story begins with Batman delivering a gibbering Joker to Arkham Asylum. Only problem is that it seems he gave himself up way too easily. Like Michael Schofield in Prison Break, the Joker has a hidden agenda in getting locked up (ok, what he wants to do inside is slightly different). He manages to escape the useless Arkham guards before they’ve even put him in his cell, with a little help from the ever-doting Harley Quinn (brilliantly acted). So it’s up to you to chase after the Clown Prince while he leaves a trail of released psychopaths and familiar villains. Continue reading Batman: Arkham Asylum (Review)

Sega Mega Drive / Genesis Celebrates 20th Birthday

A Japanese Mega Drive. The best.Boy does that make me feel old.  As of today, this classic console has been entertaining the western world for 20 years. Well, America (just over 20 years for Japan and around 19 for Europe), see guys we’ve been the last in line for a while now.

With ever-growing resentment towards my creaky Commodore 64 with its cassette loaded games and joystick, I probably wasn’t far off giving up on gaming and instead dedicating my life to something even less illustrious like sticker collections or even paying attention at school. Continue reading Sega Mega Drive / Genesis Celebrates 20th Birthday

Killzone 2: Napalm and Cordite Map Pack (Review)

Killzone 2 DLCThis is the third map pack released for Killzone 2. It features two new multiplayer maps and two new weapons. All of which you should be familiar with to some extent as they appear in the single player campaign.

The first map is Suljeva Cliffside, which is from one of K2’s dustier browner levels. This is from a very brief section of the single player game that you will have passed though in a matter of minutes.

It is a fairly straight map with a couple of underground tunnels with sentry guns guarding the passages. Outside there are twisted remains of metal huts which make for handy hiding spaces. The level itself is on a hill with one team at the top and the other at the bottom, it’s almost like a valley with a high verge on one side and buildings on the other meaning you’ll be wide open in this gauntlet like section. Continue reading Killzone 2: Napalm and Cordite Map Pack (Review)

Fat Princess (Review)

Now on the store for £11.99It cheers me up every time I explain this game to anyone. It’s a 32 player, medieval era game of capture the flag, except the flag is a Princess. And to make it extra difficult to get away with her, the other team stuff her with cake making her a Fat Princess meaning it takes much longer to carry her back to your castle. If you don’t laugh every time you hear her scream “CAKE!” you probably never will.

The maps are symmetrically designed so no team has an obvious upper hand. As you can see by the pictures, the game’s gone for a cartoonish, cell-shaded style that belies all the blood and gore plastered all over the battlefield. It’s a treat to look at and is razor sharp on a HD set. The locations include forests, volcanoes, tropical islands and mountains. Continue reading Fat Princess (Review)

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (Review)

The Western genre in recent years has been criminally underused both in the cinemas and gaming. The only games that spring to mind in the last five years are Red Dead Revolver, Gun, the vampire flavoured Darkwatch and the first Call of Juarez title (PC and 360 only).

Hopefully we’ll start to see a few more, as Bound in Blood marks a series and genre really starting to demand (and be worthy of) attention as an alternative first person shooter contender to the sci-fi of Halo and Killzone or the near-future of games like COD: Modern Warfare and the Tom Clancy titles.

Like any decent shooter this game knows it’s all about the weapons and atmosphere. As such it borrows from a wide range of western cinema including classic John Wayne style to Clint Eastwood cool. Continue reading Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (Review)

Mirror’s Edge Review – Have some faith

Dice have done the impossible. The Swedish developers have taken the fist-person perspective game that has barely evolved fundamentally since the days of Wolfenstein and Doom, and injected new life into it with a quite literal leap of faith.

Despite its first-person perspective this is definitely not a shooter. You play as the aptly named Faith, a rooftop Runner, a courier of sorts. Your aim is generally racing across skyscraper rooftops, through underground train tunnels, office blocks, shopping malls and building sites, usually while evading police and security forces and making death defying leaps between buildings, often requiring a last minute grab onto a ledge or drainpipe. If you’ve been waiting for a game that let’s you play out your fantasies of Parkour and free-running as seen in movies like District 13 and Casino Royale, this is the game for you. Continue reading Mirror’s Edge Review – Have some faith

WipEout HD: Fury (Review)

Fury is the first expansion pack to the leading futuristic racer, WipEout HD. Saying it’s an expansion is underselling it to say the least though.

Fury features 8 new race circuits, 13 new ships, 13 new Trophies, 6 new music tracks and most importantly three new game modes. Continue reading WipEout HD: Fury (Review)

Gunstar Heroes (Review)

gunstarpsnrevnsgMore retro goodness from Backbone Entertainment, the team that resurrected a disc full of retro classics with Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection. Next up is what got left out, namely this little classic from the Treasure dev team.

Chances are if you had a Mega Drive in the 90s you’ll remember this, if not here’s your chance for only £3.99. Out of the scores of side scrolling shooters this is among the best along with the likes of the Metal Slug series. Continue reading Gunstar Heroes (Review)

Battlefield 1943 (Review)

If you missed our launch party article for the game here’s a quick reminder. Downloadable only, team-based World War II first person shooter based on three (soon to be four) beautifully designed Pacific island maps. It’s like Bad Company has gone on a sunny holiday. Continue reading Battlefield 1943 (Review)

Battlefield 1943 Launches at London Party

Anticipation has been high for the next instalment in the World War II Battlefield series. Following on from the huge success of Battlefield 1942 on the PC, here at the No Sleep Gamer we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the next title in the series, Battlefield 1943, that thankfully will be released on consoles. So when EA and DICE invited us down to the Tamari club in London’s Covent Garden, we answered the call to arms.

After realising that perhaps video games hadn’t taught me as well as I thought about map-reading (actually, I’ll say Google Maps screwed me over) and reluctantly heading for the Underground instead, I eventually managed to arrive in time for the mission briefing. Well, a complimentary Battlefield-themed cocktail. Sunset Sniper anyone? Continue reading Battlefield 1943 Launches at London Party

Zuma (Review)

PopCap Games and Sony Online Entertainment have done it again and brought another fiendishly addictive puzzle game to the PSN Store following on from the success of Bejeweled 2.

zuma closedeyes NSGZuma has you controlling a rotating stone frog in an Aztec temple firing different coloured balls out of its mouth. So yeah, it’s a little strange. Bear with me.

The aim of the game is to get rid of all the coloured balls before they move through the course and get sucked down a hole at the end (if one goes, they all go). You do this by shooting out coloured balls to make sets of three or more of the same colour to make them disappear. This is aided by a line that shows where the ball will land. You’ll have to be extra precise when aiming from distance or at awkward angles. It’s a bit reminiscent of Puzzle Bobble in a “Not there you shit!” sorta way. It’ll make you angry sometimes but you won’t be able to put it down. Continue reading Zuma (Review)

Max Payne 3 staggers into Uncharted territory

Max Payne 3New York, New York. The city so nice they named it twice. Except poor old Max Payne doesn’t seem to agree if these screenshots are anything to go by.

After the moderate success of the recent movie which used New York for some great noir elements it’s surprising to see Rockstar ditch the Big Apple for this sunny, possibly South American setting. Continue reading Max Payne 3 staggers into Uncharted territory

Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway (Review)

After countless WWII games this squad-based shooter this is the best representation of the constant harrowing fear and panic of the battlefield. Relying on a slower, more thought out tactical approach than Medal of Honor et al, the gameplay is infinitely more rewarding with some missions taking over an hour.

The story of the game follows on from the last PS2 game but don’t worry about it too much if you missed it as it’s easy to pick up (you may be tempted to raid the dusty PS2 shelves after this though). The scale and ambition is on a par with Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers with spectacular action and real emotion between the soldiers. You’re in the middle of the infamously botched Operation Market-Garden where instead of the war being over by Christmas, the allies received a major ass-kicking. Most missions involve taking out the giant 88 guns, liberating Eindhoven or simply staying alive against seemingly impossible odds. Continue reading Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway (Review)

The Bourne Conspiracy (Review)

There’s no doubt whatsoever that the Bourne films are absolutely stunning. The reinvention (Bourneification) of James Bond through Casino Royale would not have been were it not for Bourne bringing the spy / action genre back with such unflinching force. So it’s a little disappointing that this game is not based on the films, instead it’s apparently more based on the original books by Robert Ludlum.

This was probably due to Matt Damon apparently not wanting to get involved with the project because he didn’t like the violent content. Wait…what? Mr Damon, you shoved a biro up someone’s hand and have spent three films smashing the fuck out of people. We’ll assume the cheque didn’t have enough zeros on it then.

Don’t be fooled by the new subtitle of ‘Conspiracy’, this is not a compilation of all three titles; this only covers The Bourne Identity. Having read the book though it’s obvious the developers have ignored it and ripped off the film instead, tweaking the odd familiar action set-piece a little (for the worse). There are also ‘memory’ missions from before Bourne went for his midnight swim off the coast of Marseilles. I’m guessing they’re written in invisible ink and between the lines in the book. They have done well to get the same awesome music from the films, which really pumps up the action. Continue reading The Bourne Conspiracy (Review)

Burnout Paradise: Big Surf Island Expansion Pack (Review)

Construction yard

The brand new island just off the Eastern coast of the old map is finally here. An early surprise is that it’s only £9.99 on the PSN ($12.99 or 1000 MS Points), I was expecting at least £15. I mean look at how much they’ve been charging for some of the DLC cars!

Thankfully the new island is fully integrated into the existing Burnout map with no loading screens, which is an impressive feat given the already considerable size. The island itself is about the size of the Downtown area, but has a mix of business district skysrapers, beaches, waterfronts, building sites (with some insane jumps and hoop sections), winding drift roads, and a mountainous dirt track. Continue reading Burnout Paradise: Big Surf Island Expansion Pack (Review)

James Bond: Quantum of Solace (Review)

Compared to Casino Royale, the Quantum of Solace film was a big let down, so there’s not much hope for the game of the film right? Movie tie-ins are usually average at best.

So it’s a big surprise to find out that the game is actually rather good. Actually it’s very good. The missions take scenes from the last two bond films, not just Quantum. But not in order, as the game plays through Quantum to after the desert sinkhole shootout, then through Casino Royale, then finishing with the remainder of the second film. Yep me neither. Continue reading James Bond: Quantum of Solace (Review)

Twelve Sky 2 (Preview)

This is another free-to-play MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) from Aeria games who are also working on Luminary.

Twelve Sky 2 is set amidst a seemingly everlasting war over territorial dominance between three factions in ancient China. These factions have been dicing each other up for years, but they may have to team up because of the emergence of an old common enemy, if the extended trailer is anything to go by. Don’t worry if you’ve not played the first game as this has a brand new story.

Jinong

This setting is something different from the usual Warcraft and Dawn of War type games as it’s humans-only on the playable character roster but you will get to fight against monsters and weird creatures. It makes a nice change to see ancient China in a something that’s not a button-masher beat-em’-up like Dynasty Warriors. Continue reading Twelve Sky 2 (Preview)

Gaming reviews, previews and features by Brendan Griffiths